LONDON, ONT —
The London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) says it will be forced to shut down a federally funded anti-human trafficking program after funding proposals were not approved.
The program, which has helped more than 3,100 women and girls over five years old, is slated to close on May 29.
The organization noted that provincially-funded programs will continue to operate.
According to the LAWC, funding proposals submitted to the Justice Department Victims of Crime Fund were not approved because a lack of funding from the federal government.
Over the years, the program reportedly helped 3,107 trafficked, prostituted, sexually-exploited and at-risk women and girls.
In a release officials with LAWC noted that in 2019 $57.22 million was committed to combat human trafficking, but “That commitment appears to have been abandoned.”
The federal Office of the Minister of Justice and the Office of the Minister of Women and Gender Equality responded in an email statement Tuesday afternoon.
It reads in part, “[The] fund was a five year program that was set to close at the end of March 2020 and we thank all the organizations that took part in it for their valuable contributions. We are aware of the impact that the sun-setting of this program has had on some organizations, and we are working across government to try and find solutions to enable them to continue their work. “
The two ministries added that $75 million in funding for the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will continue efforts to fight gender-based violence, and collaborations with provinces and other stakeholders on a national action plan will begin in the coming months.
That’s in addition to millions in funding for numerous projects by women’s organizations, those that are removing barriers for women, and shelters and sexual assault organizations.
“While not all programs that have reached their planned end date will be renewed, we are fully committed to protecting Canadians.”